Pediatricians: Limit Kids’ Texting and Internet Surfing

Too much time plugged in can contribute to cyberbullying and exchanging inappropriate content.

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Parents need to limit kids’ screen time to only two hours a day, according to a new policy released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The new report says that more kids are tweeting, texting, surfing the Internet, and keeping laptops in their bedrooms, and that usage is linked to behavior like cyberbullying.

The AAP has long advised parents to keep TVs out of kids’ bedrooms, but the new policy states that kids’ smartphone and laptop use should also be limited to only two hours a day. The recommendations are published today in the medical journal Pediatrics, and was presented at the AAP’s annual National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.

The researchers say that kids are now watching online television and chatting with one another late at night, which can include viewing and sending sexually explicit images. According to the new policy, the AAP is concerned that not enough families are setting guidelines for media use, and that kids would benefit from boundaries, as well as learning what educational content there is online beyond Facebook.

Once a child has been online for two hours, the AAP says they should log off, unless they are working on homework.

“For nearly three decades, the AAP has expressed concerns about the amount of time that children and teen-agers spend with media, and about some of the content they are viewing,” said the report co-author, Dr. Victor Strasburger, in a statement. “The digital age has only made these issues more pressing.”